Al Bawadi Grill | Suburbs Southwest | Middle Eastern | Restaurant
click to enlarge Makdous, stuffed oil-cured baby eggplants, at Al Bawadi Grill

Makdous, stuffed oil-cured baby eggplants, at Al Bawadi Grill

Mike Sula

The 800-pound gorilla of area Middle Eastern restaurants.

Our Review

Bridgeview's Al Bawadi is generally regarded as the 800-pound gorilla of Middle Eastern restaurants. There's a somewhat corny, Disney-esque feel to the onetime Arby's, with servers strutting around in keffiyeh and shoulder holsters, but you can't help but get into the spirit when one pours you a gratis thimble cup of cardamom-spiked coffee or delivers the complimentary relish tray of eggplant spread, turshi and olives, and spiced pita chips. It's rightly praised for its meats grilled over hardwood lump charcoal, sometimes at the expense of other worthy things on its big menu—namely the makdous, oil-cured baby eggplants stuffed with crushed walnuts, red pepper, and garlic and served sectioned on the plate. Tangy, spicy, and quite meaty themselves, they're an ideal pickly counterpoint to the fat, juicy kebabs, which come plated generously over two kinds of rice and swaddled in the crepelike flatbread markook. The menu's loaded with other good things as well: breakfast items like the tomatoey saute gallaya and fatah hummus (crispy pita chips mixed with chickpeas and topped with hummus), or the Syrian cheese-and-beef-stuffed pita pockets known as arayes, the potato-garlic puree muthawama, generous fresh salads, and fresh-squeezed fruit-juice cocktails.

Mike Sula

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